Roadster Seats in a FHC

Well, when you buy a car in boxes, $hit is going to happen! For my 1963 FHC restoration (build date Jan. 2nd, 1963, car number 888055), I recently started exploring upholstery options, which led me to take a hard look at the seats that came with my pile of boxes. I am pretty sure they are roadster seats.

So, maybe that makes sense in a world of Jaguar on the fly parts substitutions. Indeed I found at least 2 folks on the UKForum that state that their original FHCs have roadster seats, including one built in the same timeframe as mine. I read Haddock page 92 which states “Some early coupes were fitted with roadster seats”. No car numbers provided. I wouldn’t quantify my car as “early” but one never knows. Now, just to confuse the issue further, Haddock discusses a change in the seat tracks, with the early ones being shorter. He does state this ococured at chassis numbers 850526/7, 860580/1, 877355/6 and 886092/3, about June of 1962. I found 4 seat sliders in a box. I’m not sure on the dimensions of the long ones versus the short ones but I can easily see that the sliders I have are “long” with respect to the “short” hole spacing on the seats I have. Conversely, the hole spacing of the sliders is a dead match for the captive nuts for the seat attachments on my tub. Finally, based on the upholstery on my roadster seats, they have red upholstery with black covers fitted over the red. My car’s upholstery was Tan. So I doubt they came with the original car and they are “early” enough to have been drilled for the “short” sliders. I just checked and it looks like there is room on the seat bottom frame to add an additional captive nut at a spacing to match my “long” sliders.

Option 1) If there is anyone out there that has been looking for some early roadster seat frames in poor but restorable condition and has some FHC seat frames in restorable condition, I would propose a trade. Mike Moore, in 2003, posed just this offer. I suspect old Mike has already made accomodations! And of course I can just start looking in the usual places for the seat frames I need and if I’m successful, I can sell my early roadster seats. I do have time, I’m early in the restoration process.

Option 2) Use the roadster seats. I will probably get pinged occasionally by the originaliity police but I do have a plausible story. Maybe?!

PS#1 I am very sensitive to how the seat bolsters hit my shoulder blades. The seats in my wife’s Porsche Cayman pinch me and start to get to me in a very short bit of driving. After sitting in the roadster seats for all of 15 seconds, it does feel like my shoulder blades sit on the outer padded part, comfortably. As mentioned in one of the many posts I have reviewed, a pillow for the small of my back may be required.

PS#2 I do plan to sell this car when I am done. I would like to restore it to a JCNA Championship level and show it a few times before I move it on. If we ever start having car shows again! Again, not sure if the roadster seats are going to leave me on shaky ground with the judges. I’m a judge. It would probabIy be a problem for me. I really don’t have anything definitive to hang my hat on to prove originality.

PS #3 Quick Ebay Search: Monocouque Metalworks advertises new seat frames like I would need for $1875. Somebody in Dallas is asking $2500 for a set of frames with ratty looking upholstery.

I think I’ve answered my question but comments/suggestions are appreciated :grinning:

Early coupes indeed had roadster seats: Tweety did, and they were OE. He was built November 1962.

Yep, my 63’ coupe has roadster seats, plus Scott Johnson’s car (jagnweiner) that left the factory a day before mine, also has roadster seats… Harvey, are your seats leather or vinyl? JS

For that kind of dough I’d just run with them. I don’t find the wider seats offer any additional comfort. They share the common 3.8 seat discomfort issue which is reverse lumbar support.

The black covers are vinyl. The original (?) material underneath the covers is red leather. This was for the center section of the seat back, where I was able to pull an edge lose.

Have you requested the Heritage Cert to see if the hide color matches the build? If it doesn’t that would be proof positive they were transplants.

It would not be difficult to just re-work them into coupe seats. AFAIK, the ONLY difference is the shape of the upper back. A few square inches of new sheet metal a few inches of wire, cut, weld, done!

Ray L.

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This change (described in Service Bulletin N.16 and Spare Parts Bulletin P.61) is associated with the curved recess added to the vertical section of the bulkhead behind the seats to provide more rearward travel. If your car has the recess, which it should from the Car#, the longer slides are appropriate.

Us of OTS seats in some FHCs is noted in several of the authoritative books, but I’ve never seen a list of individual cars. There is an FHC being auctioned on BaT (owned by a forum member, I believe) that has this “feature”.


Plenty of early Coupes used roadster seats, mine did (Apr. '62) and numerous period magazine photos show early Coupes with roadster seats installed.

Personally, I think they suit the Coupe better and look neater than the wide seats.

Early Coupes had a lot of differences from later cars, especially very early cars like the one I had where the whole of the rear end, hatch etc was entirely different and later parts don’t fit so you’re lucky if you don’t have that problem.

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Well, after a nice lunch and a nap, I’m ready to jump back into this :slight_smile:
First to Ray’s suggestion: Ray, I know you and I are pretty dedicated DYI guys. That said, Monocouque Metalworks sells the seat shells and has photos of each type on their website, along with discussion. I’m with Chuck, it’s a complicated shape and one that they found, as usual, to vary in shape amongst several samples. If it comes to it, I will gladly pay him his price for new shells.
A number of you have documented instances of FHCs with roadster seats and Clive likes them esthetically. I didn’t mean for this to become a Concours discussion (and for those of you that hate the whole subject, I understand). That said, I’ve reviewed the Originality Guide and it is unfortunately clear:
3.8 - leather-bucket shaped - Moquette back
Note: Different shaped seats were used in the OTS & FHC. FHC Seats are rather flat at the top while OTS seats are pointier (H – Pg. 64) (J30 – Pgs. 189 & 244)

So then you get into can you document your exception. Here is what the Concours Rulebook says:
4. Authenticity Documentation
Authentic parts, options, and configurations are only those listed and/or illustrated in:
a. Official Jaguar Cars Ltd. - Parts Books, Service Manuals and Owner’s Manuals;
b. Jaguar Cars Inc. and Jaguar Canada Inc. Sales Literature and Accessory Brochures;
c. Official JCNA model-specific Judging Guides.
d. JCNA Seminar Technical Bulletins, where the content quotes or copies Jaguar Cars or*
certain JCNA publications, (see Appendix C, Tables C-1 and C-3).

If anyone can make a case using this list of documents, I would be interested to hear. I think a and b are not going to help. c has already been discussed above. Which leaves my only hope in d, which also doesn’t sound promising. David has mentioned the type of change that might be discussed in the Bulletins, which seems to fall along the lines of changes, more than substitutions. Notice that testimonials from avid Jag-Lovers forum subscribers is not mentioned as an approved source :slight_smile:

I’ve got time to think about it but if meeting Champion Division expectations (or even Driver for that matter) is my goal, I am leaning towards buying the shells from MM and selling my existing seats on Ebay.

FWIW, my car scored 99.41 points in JCNA Championship Division Concours right after I’d finished the restoration 20 years ago and with the original roadster seats.

So looks like they’ve thought of a lot more fancy rules since then. In any case, in the 40 years I owned my car I had plenty of confirmation that Jaguar installed roadster seats in some early Coupes so I’d definitely contest that Concours Guide ruling and leave the car as it originally was built with the roadster seats.

06-ls seat 2


Hey David, yep that’s by white coupe on BAT…Just because I’m selling this one, does not mean that you can get rid of me…still have a 74’ OTS and a 57’ Mk1. This car was just a fun project that I came across. JS

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^^What Clive said: I believe the “official rules” are wrong, in this instance.

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It looks like a wonderful coupe in great condition, and you clearly did a great job with the mechanicals. The driving video shows that. If I was “allowed” another E-Type by SWMBO, I’d be sorely tempted. I’ve always wanted a FHC, but somehow not got there yet. Good luck with the auction!

So is my car a November '62. It has coupe seats. Expect there is no rhyme or reason. Paul.

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I’m a little late to this party, but just wanted to reiterate what Jeff said. When I saw the listing for Jeff’s car last week, I recognized immediately that his car number was only 14 numbers higher than mine. Checked my heritage certificate and saw that our cars were made on consecutive days. (Mid-September, 1962) I have done a fair amount of looking at FHCs on XKEDATA of that vintage and was pretty confident that at least a significant number of FHCs manufactured in the last four months of 1962 left the factory with OTS seats. Seeing Jeff’s car, which is almost a twin to mine (different color interior), now makes me 100% sure that my roadster seats are original (although reupholstered).

Can’t remember if I’ve seen any as late as Jan. 1963, but it would be close. I’d keep the OTS seats.

PS, IF you end up doing a red interior, and IF you change to coupe seats, I have a brand new set of BAS UK Coupe seat covers in red that could be had very reasonably. My PO bought them not knowing he had different seats.

Ditto, with roadster seats, clear evidence never changed out…

All cars were initially fitted with the same style of seat having a narrow back and 10° rake angle to allow the convertible roof to be lowered without fouling. The August 1961 SPC shows the L/H and R/H seat assemblies as BD15530 and BD15529 (i.e they are handed, left and right) for both FHC and OTS. At some point a second style of seat was introduced specifically for the FHC which featured a more comfortable wider back in keeping with its ‘Grand Touring’ credentials. The June 1963 SPC shows the new seat frames as BD24175 (FHC) and BD20820 (OTS), they are not handed and have a rake angle of 20°. I can find no reference to this change in the Spares Bulletins but the change is likely to have coincided with the dished bulkhead in June 1962. The seat slides also changed at about this time from BD18958 locking slide RH, BD18959 locking slide LH, BD18960 plain slide to BD22810, BD22811, BD22812 respectively. The later versions allowed more travel to take advantage of the dished bulkhead. Change was at car numbers 860581/886093/850527/877356.


The early seats had a rake angle of 10° whilst later seats had a rake angle of 20° for more comfort.

So the first thing to check is the rake angle of the seat backs. If they are 20° they are post June 1962.

Arguably, from a concours perspective, any FHC cars produced after June 1963 should have the broad seats as they have a specific part number documented from that date. Prior to that date there is no ‘evidence’ or paper trail to differentiate the seats that I can find so either style is appropriate. They would be fitted as stock allowed or to customer specification. So, in summary

From launch - SPC J30 says BD15530 and BD15529 - handed seats, style unspecified with a 10° rake
June 1962 - seats with 20° rake observed, style unspecified, long runners
August 1963 - SPC J30 (revised) says BD24175 (FHC) and BD20820 (OTS) seats, not handed, long runners with 20° rake


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Just to further muddy things up, Tweety, at 886845, had roadster seats.

Those car numbers refer to the change of seat slides not the style of seats.

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